by Geneve Lau
Photography courtesy of Sarah Greisdorf
If you walk into the BUild Lab at Boston University during the weekday and peek your head into one of the meeting rooms, you’re likely to run into Sarah Greisdorf.
Usually sporting a black leather jacket, she sits behind her computer adorned with empowering stickers: two fists with the words “Girls Code” and Ada Lovelace’s face. Her fingers briskly type away, checking off task after task on her to-do list.
Greisdorf is a freshman studying Computer Science in the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University. Aside from her studies, she is also the president of the Residence Hall Council at one of the largest residences on BU’s campus, Warren Towers.
Passionate about empowering females, Greisdorf serves as the head of operations of SheHacksBoston, the largest all-female and femme non-binary hackathon in the world. This passion led her to starting The Collective.
“I’ve always wanted to start my own company,” she recalled. “Growing up I would come up with a new business idea almost every week, much to my friends’ amusement. They watched me jump from one supposedly great idea to the next.”
The breakthrough idea for The Collective started when Greisdorf noticed that she was always struggling to find a place to put her phone.
“I always had to bring a bag, ask a male friend to carry it, or just hold it in my hand,” she said. “I decided that women should not have to struggle to carry their belongings and that they deserved the same functionality in their clothing,”
The Collective is a biweekly newsletter that Greisdorf created from scratch. Newsletters are emailed out to subscribers bi-weekly, and follow themes, trends or clothing types. The most recent newsletter featured pants, and editions for spring break clothing and dresses were sent out––all with functional pockets, of course.
In one year, Greisdorf’s hope for The Collective is that it will develop several strong partnerships with small brands. Most importantly, however, she wants more women to find clothing items that have pockets, with ease. Her bigger future goal for The Collective aligns with her main career goal–to build solutions to problems that people face every day.
While being a business venture, The Collective is also a self-journey for Greisdorf.
“Some weeks you make a lot of progress and some weeks it doesn’t seem like you are making any,” she said. “Remembering past successes and anticipating the future definitely keeps me motivated and positive.”
Although it has been a struggle to balance schoolwork, a job and The Collective, Greisdorf makes sure that she devotes significant time to each. She is inspired and fueled by every woman that lights up when hearing the words “dress with pockets.”
Additionally, she advises anyone considering a startup to begin rooted in passion.
“The company won’t go anywhere if you don’t have passion. Don’t start because you think people will want what you are selling,” Greisdorf said. “Start because you are passionate about the work, regardless of how much money you would make.”
Greisdorf gives The Collective’s success to the resources through Innovate@BU and the BUild Lab. Their workshops and events have been extremely beneficial in The Collective’s startup process. She attended Pitch and Pizza, The Opposites Attract Career Fair and spoke at One Million Cups.
Be on the lookout for The Collective taking BU, the city of Boston and beyond by storm in upcoming months!